Jordanians hold mixed opinions on cost of travel to Turkey

An undated photo of the view of the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. (Photos: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — While some Jordanian travelers say they prefer going to Turkey on vacation, due to the low prices of airline tickets, hotel accommodation, commuting and shopping, others say it is just a trap, because prices there are not that low.اضافة اعلان

Hakam Sulaiman went to Turkey in 2019 and was surprised to see that things were more expensive than he expected.

A man selling chestnuts and corn in an undated photo in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: Shutterstock)

“For example, food price depends on the place you choose, and cheap price means compromising quality. A decent dinner in a good place costs JD40,” said Sulaiman.

“Transportation is cheap if you choose the subway, but taxis are expensive and drivers may manipulate the fee by not using the meter or choosing a longer route to charge more”, he added.

He found even the hotel relatively expensive, “although it was booked by a friend from Istanbul”, said Sulaiman.

“Street food is just like in Amman; we bought five chestnuts for JD2.5 and two corn cobs for JD1.5,” he said, adding that entry tickets to historical places are not cheap either.

An undated photo of the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. (Photos: Envato Elements)

“For example, the ticket to Hagia Sophia is JD7, while in Jordan the ticket to enter Jerash (one of the largest and best preserved Roman cities in the world) is JD10 and to the Church of the Map in Madaba is only JD1,” Sulaiman said.

Hamzeh Erhayel disagreed, contending that prices are cheap. He stayed for a week in a 5-star hotel, on BB basis, for JD600, and when shopping, he found a “high quality” suit for only JD75, while in Jordan it would cost JD250.

According to Turkish travel agents and officials, Jordan is the top market for Turkey in the region; 280,000 Jordanians travelled to Turkey in 2017.

Khaled Alhassan, sales manager at a Jordanian travel agency, said that 60 per cent of the bookings through his agency are to Turkey, 20 per cent to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (lesser Hajj), 15 per cent in Jordan and 5 per cent to other countries.

People can book a full-board trip to Turkey for three days and two nights for only JD260, travel agent Ghazwan Shneineh told Jordan News.

(Photos: Envato Elements)

Shneineh said that his agency organizes daily trips to Turkey ”with no obstacles”, except for the three PCR tests that travelers are required to do when they leave Jordan, arrive in Turkey and return to Jordan.

He called for cancelling the PCR test that travelers are asked to do when they come back since they do one in Turkey 48 hours before they return to the Kingdom.

Prices of trip packages vary from season to season. In March, prices get so high that few people can afford them, according to people in the industry. 
Sulaiman said that travel agents can get offers at very low prices as part of deals with services suppliers, such as hotels, to induce them to send tourists regularly.

Trip packages usually include hotels, flight tickets, meet-and-assist services, and scheduled trips such as city and boat tours.

However, quite a significant number of Jordanians who travelled to Turkey complained that there are organizers who fail to provide all the services stipulated in the contract.

Some people book hotels and tickets online without the help of a travel agent in an attempt to cut cost.

Screen tourism is the main factor that lures hundreds of thousands of Jordanians, and other Arabs, to Turkey.

Most of them want to see places they knew from TV series they watched, such as Gümüş, a Turkish romance and family TV series, and Diriliş: Ertuğrul, a TV series based on the life of Ertuğrul, the father of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. So a trip to Istanbul must include a Bosphorus Strait boat trip that features many places that were made famous by TV drama.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

In Turkey, Jordanians typically spend on garments, food and entertainment; very few would visit historical sites like Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, say travel agents.

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